Messenger and Perkins Partnership

Following the disposal of his horticultural business in 1875, Thomas Messenger, as seen earlier continued his business partnership with John Perkins, as Messenger and Perkins, plumbers, glaziers and gas fitters, which he first entered into in 1868.


Messenger & Perkins’ 1878 Advertisement

Very little is documented as to the work undertaken by or indeed the customers of this partnership. It is known that they undertook plumbing work for the Loughborough Dispensary; the courtroom in Loughborough; Mr. Giles at Whatton House, Long Whatton, Leicestershire; at Beaumanor Hall, Woodhouse, Leicestershire[1]; Dishey tollhouse[2]. In 1871, they tendered for work on behalf of the Loughborough Board of Health for “keeping public lamps in repair[3]. Messenger & Perkins submitted tender of £50 for the two-year contract, which was awarded to Mr. David Moore who tendered the same. Four years later, they were awarded the contract for the repair of 193 lamps for £53, if “they were in a fit and proper state[4] before the contract began. On that occasion Messenger and Perkins was the only firm to tender, although later the same year the Board of Health again advertised a two-year contract to maintain the public lamps. There were two tenders, one for Mr. David Moore for £70 and one for Mr. Charles Fisher for £75. Messenger & Perkins didn’t for unknown reasons submit a tender, which was won by Mr. Fisher[5].

When Thomas sold off his horticultural business, he agreed not to undertake similar work within a 300 miles radius of Loughborough Town Hall. However, the agreement allowed him “to make and sell valves, pipes and connections for metal and India Rubber tubes according to his present patents but that he should neither directly or indirectly fix any such valves or connections to any boiler or other work or apparatus” without the consent in writing from Walter Burder and Alfred Bumpus.

The partnership with Perkins must have pushed this agreement to the limit. Within eighteen months, they were installing a heating system for the trustees of the Wesleyan Chapel, Leicester Road, Loughborough. The boiler was placed in a vault under the school on the opposite side of the road. This required the approval of the Board of Heath to dig-up the road, in order to lay the hot-water pipes in brick trenches[6]. This was obviously not a low profile installation having to both seek approval and dig up the main Leicester Road, which was within a few hundred yards of Messenger & Co.’s High Street works. It is inconceivable that Walter Burder and Alfred Bumpus were not aware of this.

Sunday School, Leciester Road, Loughborough – 1883 OS Map

By 1880, the partnership had obviously stepped beyond what Walter Burder and Alfred Bumpus found acceptable. They accused Thomas Messenger of running a business in partnership with John Perkins, which contravened their agreement with him. This may have been provoked by the fact the Messenger and Perkins won a contract to install heating apparatus as part of the refurbishment of St. Paul’s Church, Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire[7]. Following refurbishment the Church reopened on 13th October 1880 and the dissolution of their partnership took place a couple of weeks later being announced on 16th November[8]:

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Thomas Goode Messenger and John Perkins, carrying on the business of Plumbers, Glaziers, and Gas Fitters, at No. 24, High-street, Loughborough, and Quorndon, both in the county of Leicester, under the style of Messenger and Perkins, has been dissolved, by mutual consent, as from the 1st day of November instant; and that the said business will henceforth be carried on by the said John Perkins alone, who will receive and pay all debts due to and from the said partnership.—As witness our hands this 6th day of November. 1880.

Thomas G. Messenger
J Perkins

Another possible reason for falling foul of his agreement with Walter Burder and Alfred Bumpus was that he submitted a tender of £47 15s. to the Ripley Local Board to install a heating system into Ripley Market Hall, a tender he won[9]. It appears that the tender was from Mr. Messenger, this presumably refers to Thomas Messenger, although it is likely to have been on behalf of Messenger and Perkins. There is no record of Messenger & Co. having installed a heating system into Ripley Market Hall during this period.

For contravening the agreement, Thomas Messenger paid Walter and Alfred Burder £150 compensation and £25 costs. He also agreed to prevent John Perkins from using the name Messenger in connection with the business of horticultural builder and hot water engineering.

As a consequence of the partnership break-up, John Perkins placed an advertisement in the Wills’ Loughborough Almanac and Street Directory for 1881 referring to the partnership as “late Messenger and Perkins”, adding “In soliciting a continuance of the Support so literally accorded to the late Firm, begs to inform the Public generally that, having a thorough practical experience in all the above Branches, he will be enabled satisfactorily to execute any Order entrusted to him, and hopes, by strict attention to Business, combined with good Material Workmanship, and Moderate Charges, to merit a share of Public Patronage, assuring his Customers that no effort on his part shall be wanting to meet their various requirements”. The “Above Branches” referenced in the advertisement referred to plumbing, glazing, gas fitting, bell hanging and hot water engineering. John Perkins was, at the time, also an authorised plumber for the local Waterworks.



John Perkins continued to run the business alone, initially being known “John Perkins” and later as just “J Perkins”. The business ran successfully for almost another twenty years, based at No. 24, High Street, adjacent to Messenger & Co.’s, works. He relinquished the Quorndon office, sometime prior to 1888.



Around 1890, he moved his family to No. 38, Leicester Road, Loughborough, a substantial five- bedroomed, double fronted property. Towards the rear of the property that stretched back onto Moira Street was numerous out-buildings, where in April 1899[10], he obtained planning permission to extend his workshop and two months later[11] he obtained planning permission for offices and a shop.

John Perkins died, aged 73, on 5th March, 1913 and is buried in Loughborough Cemetery, alongside his wife, Sarah Elizabeth, who died several years earlier.

John Perkins grave, Leicester Road Cemetery, Loughborough



  1. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 25th March 1871.

  2. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 23rd September 1871.

  3. The Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury, 7th October 1871.

  4. The Loughborough Advertiser, 4th November 1875.

  5. The Loughborough Advertiser, 9th December 1875.

  6. The Loughborough Advertiser, 6th July 1876.

  7. The Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury 6th, October 1880.

  8. The London Gazette, 16th November 1880.

  9. The Nottinghamshire Guardian, 2nd September 1880.

  10. The Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette, 13th April 1899.

  11. The Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette, 8th June 1899.